Oaty breads are set to become the new battleground in the bread fixture, after Hovis revealed an ambitious £30m 12-month sales target for its Hearty Oats loaf.

The move follows Kingsmill’s Oatilicious launch in February and the European Food Safety Authority approval of oats’ cholesterol-busting claims in 2009.

Hovis’ marketing director Jon Goldstone said a third of its projected sales would come from people switching from cereal for breakfast, a third from rival breads and the rest from changing Hovis products. Goldstone said that healthy breakfasts were the biggest opportunity, driven largely by breakfast cereal growth. Whereas porridge saw 13.5% volume growth between 2005-2009 (source: Kantar Worldpanel), bread declined by 4.3%.

Packaging features the wording "helps maintain normal cholesterol" approved under the health claims directive. "There is a claim being lodged, based on clinical research, that a diet rich in beta-glucan can actively reduce cholesterol, so we are following that closely because a ’reduction’ claim would be stronger than a ’helps maintain’ claim," he added.

Hearty Oats uses a mix of pinhead and rolled oats and will be placed in the ’bread with bits’ section a category showing growth of 4.8% (IRI 12 weeks to 20 Feb).

Michael Livingstone, director of cholesterol charity Heart UK, which has endorsed the product on-pack, said salt levels were in keeping with a cholesterol-maintaining claim: "We only work with projects that will benefit the public health; 65% of the population has cholesterol levels above those they should."

The launch will feature Hovis’ biggest-ever trial campaign and an 89p trial price (RRP of £1.34). It is currently in Asda stores prior to a nationwide rollout.




Hovis vs Kingsmill


Marketing spend: £5m/£1.3m
Wholegrain oat content: 33%/20%
Texture: with bits/smooth
On pack: Heart UK accreditation/Britain’s Got Talent promo